HealthCare Chaplaincy Network (HCCN) has been an organization in the spiritual care and chaplaincy field since 1961. Throughout our history, we have been committed to excellence in spiritual care through our direct clinical care, our clinical pastoral education (CPE) and continuing education programs, and our extensive research and consensus statements. We have been an ongoing financial and resource provider to other organizations over the years, enabling them to carry out myriad projects. There is no doubt HCCN is a part of the fabric of spiritual care in America.
My arrival as HCCN’s chief executive officer in 2013 brought me face to face with many like you. The staff at HCCN educated me on our history. Thought leaders, chaplains, and other health care professionals challenged me to better integrate spiritual care into health care, to address the gaps, and to look to the future. HCCN’s dedicated board sought action to contribute significantly to the field.
That’s why the Spiritual Care Association (SCA), an affiliate of HCCN, has been born. SCA, with its vast resources and services, is the product of years of research and discussion. It is the culmination of HCCN’s experience, and the thought and insights of respected leaders as well as the daily providers and interested parties in spiritual care and chaplaincy. It engages chaplains and other health care professionals from multiple disciplines, community clergy and religious leaders, and organizations and institutions in common purpose. It looks at the real needs of providers, patients and their families, and the important role of chaplaincy. It standardizes a fragmented profession, and makes education and preparedness a fundamental necessity. And it commits to raising a loud voice for the spiritual care agenda by providing the opportunity in the U.S. and across the globe to speak up and lead to change and transformation.
A passionate vision, isn’t it? Some may say it is impossible. Others may say we have never done it like this before, and so may deride the prospect. Still others may express concern, fearing that which is new. But what about you? What do you think? Isn’t it time for spiritual care to be better accepted, respected and valued? Isn’t it time to ensure that the whole person – body, mind and spirit – is cared for? Isn’t it time to do everything we can to reduce the pain and suffering of those we serve? Isn’t it time for more to be done, for more support and better guidance to be provided? This is an opportunity to get involved, an opportunity to make a difference. No, it’s not just a passionate vision: it is the vision of our future.